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# Love it or leave it? Math facts timed drills.

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Do you do timed drills?  Do they reduce everyone to tears?  How do you teach math facts?

LOVE it or LEAVE it?

or

by on Aug. 2, 2012 at 1:18 PM
Replies (21-30):
by on Aug. 2, 2012 at 7:00 PM
1 mom liked this

LEAVE NOPE NEVER DONT YUCK LEAVE IT LEAVE IT>

by Sonja on Aug. 2, 2012 at 7:24 PM

We did this too. : )

Quoting SusanTheWriter:

We taught math facts on car trips! DH would toss out a set of numbers and DD (older) would have to multiply or divide and DS would add or subtract. It was more fun for both of them and they competed against each other for speed.

Programs that teach lots of alternate ways to get to those basic facts are fine, but in the end, the kids just plain need to know them.

I agree.

by Group Admin on Aug. 2, 2012 at 7:33 PM

This is exactly how we teach our children but we do it all over not just the car.

Quoting SusanTheWriter:

We taught math facts on car trips! DH would toss out a set of numbers and DD (older) would have to multiply or divide and DS would add or subtract. It was more fun for both of them and they competed against each other for speed.

Speed becomes more of an issue at the middle and high school level when they need to have those facts down cold so they can progress to more theoretical maths. If they spend all their time counting on their fingers, they won't be able to do the advanced work.

It took DD forever to learn her facts until she hit Pre-Algebra in 7th grade. It only took her a couple of weeks of struggling to keep up before she realized what she needed to do, knuckled down, and memorized them within a week.

Programs that teach lots of alternate ways to get to those basic facts are fine, but in the end, the kids just plain need to know them.

by Group Admin on Aug. 2, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Quoting kirbymom:

I love it!  But, I don't do it a whole bunch with my kids. Although, I do make sure they have some drills every once in awhile just to keep up with their speed of thought process.  I think it helps them to be able to think in a moments notice if they learn to think speed wise.  I hope that makes sense to someone. lol

Makes perfect sense!  I'd like him to get used to thinking quickly.  I want them to be automatic for him.  I just need to bolster against the breakdowns I guess!

by on Aug. 3, 2012 at 8:10 AM
Leave it, leave it, leave it.

I tutor math and see the pitfalls of drilling every single day. It breaks my heart to see all of these children in my center struggle because they were taught memorization....not mastery.

In my homeschool, I teach mastery first. I have found that the fluency increases as mastery is achieved.

Yes, I agree that as a student embarks on higher math concepts, fluency is very important. However, memorization without mastery can potentially lead to a student getting flustered trying to recall facts from memory while doing higher math. It leads to careless errors.

If you are in the "memorization" camp, I encourage you to also teach mastery skills. Mastery doesn't fail your student....memory is imperfect.

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by on Aug. 3, 2012 at 8:32 AM

I don't love them, but I think they are necessary.

Instead of using the 1`or 2 minutes specified, I have my dd time herself. The next time she does a drill, she tries to beat her own time.

I really don't like flashcards, so drills are the only way. I buy flashcards, but somehow we never use them.

Math facts need to be memorized. Math can be very frustrating later on and very, very time consuming if they aren't memorized. The timed drills encourage memorization to the point of reflex. If they have to think to get the answers, they aren't doing it right.

ETA: mastery=memorization in my book. You can't achieve one without the other. I tutored Calculus and Differential Equations in college, and all my kids make A's in math.

by Group Admin on Aug. 3, 2012 at 8:42 AM

Quoting jgattis:

Leave it, leave it, leave it.

I tutor math and see the pitfalls of drilling every single day. It breaks my heart to see all of these children in my center struggle because they were taught memorization....not mastery.

In my homeschool, I teach mastery first. I have found that the fluency increases as mastery is achieved.

Yes, I agree that as a student embarks on higher math concepts, fluency is very important. However, memorization without mastery can potentially lead to a student getting flustered trying to recall facts from memory while doing higher math. It leads to careless errors.

If you are in the "memorization" camp, I encourage you to also teach mastery skills. Mastery doesn't fail your student....memory is imperfect.

Could you explain what you mean by mastery skills?

by Group Admin on Aug. 3, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Quoting lucsch:

I don't love them, but I think they are necessary.

Instead of using the 1`or 2 minutes specified, I have my dd time herself. The next time she does a drill, she tries to beat her own time.

I really don't like flashcards, so drills are the only way. I buy flashcards, but somehow we never use them.

Math facts need to be memorized. Math can be very frustrating later on and very, very time consuming if they aren't memorized. The timed drills encourage memorization to the point of reflex. If they have to think to get the answers, they aren't doing it right.

ETA: mastery=memorization in my book. You can't achieve one without the other. I tutored Calculus and Differential Equations in college, and all my kids make A's in math.

I think you are the one that convinced me to try them again using the beat your own time method.  I'm still not sure they need to be memorized now (he's 7, so plenty of time before higher maths).  But we're getting into the practice.

by on Aug. 3, 2012 at 9:15 AM
1 mom liked this

I told them to do them quickly, but we didn't really time them.

by on Aug. 3, 2012 at 9:26 AM
Leave it. It just raises my kids anxiety level for no good reason, IMO. I would rather, as they are young, take an hour to work on the basics so they have a real understanding of the material. That way, when they are taking their SAT or college entrance exams, they will not struggle with the timer. But I don't work wrote memorization for anything!